Saturday, January 3, 2009

Character Sketch: E.

E.
is unnervingly eager.
He has full lips and blond hair, rough like Brillo pads. Most women thought him to be attractive but his laugh scared everyone. It is heavy and terrible, like his cricked teeth have shredded it to pieces. E. even had braces as a boy.
He was raised in Iowa, in a little house that wasn't broken. His father never hit his mother but his little sister always wanted to fly. She begged, "Higher, higher," on the swing, on the trampoline. Once D. and Gwen were jumping when a tree branch got stuck under the wire of D.'s braces on his way back down to bounce. Two of his teeth were yanked from his gums, then his knees buckled and he ricocheted off into a bush. His bottom jaw chomped down on his remaining top teeth--chipping most to sharp points. The blood swelled and oozed from his mouth and he can still taste the metallic iron of it to this day.
At 17, E. bought a motorcycle. He rode it through the dessert toward the West. He watched the sand turn more rusty red with every mile, as the heat sucked the moisture from his skin. There was a car on fire one night while the sun was setting. He could see the burning body as he passed. He never told anyone about hearing the screams but not stopping.
When he got to California, he slept on the beach and had a love affair with acid. Sometimes, E. thought he could hear under water and sometimes he even listened to the fish singing.
He rented a room from an old lady. She gave him a mattress, which laid up-right against the wall the entire time he lived there. He, instead, filled the space with sea things: shells, stones, sea weeds, vessles of foam and sand, exoskeletons, and drift wood. He dyed his hair sea-foam green and tattooed "The Birth of Venus" on his torso.
When his sister moved to New York and begged him to sit on the Brooklyn Bridge with him, he said, "I'll have no sea." And his sister said, "You'll have to see." And he said, "No, I'll need the sea." And she said, "Oh, you need the sea the way I need the wind." And E. said, "Yes." And Gwen said, "You're lucky you can put your feet in it." And he said, "But the wind is every where." And she said, "I will fly."
E. did make it to NY, but his sister couldn't walk anymore, so he put his sea in galleries and sat by her every day at the hospital. He told her about colors, vivid and dull. He told her about all the things she wasn't missing out in the world and all the things that made people sorry they aren't. He never told her about his guilt over not saving two girl's lives. But he did tell her about waking up once with sand crabs festering his his mouth. He said, "They weren't scared of my teeth."

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